This week, two things which are important to me are off to find a life of their own. One (and the most important, obviously) is my son. He has just moved into his first house with some of his friends from college. We packed up the car with everything he could possibly want – and quite a few things he didn’t, like tea-towels and washing-up liquid – and drove him to what is now his home town. They are renting a little three bed house into which the landlord is squeezing four students – no luxury sitting room for them! But the house was clean, the furniture was perfectly acceptable, and it is within easy distance of the pub, the chippy and the Co-op. He looked more than happy.
The other thing I’m setting free is my new book. The advance reading copies (or ARCs) are due any day, and then they’ll be off to the advance readers – the bloggers and reviewers. That’s the first time anyone apart from the editors and my daughter will have read my story. What if no-one likes it? What if all the reviews say it’s rubbish? I was nervous about my son but I know that he can cope. But with a book, who knows? I’ve been working on this story for years, and nursed it from a brief comment over lunch with my editor all the way up to the 300 page finished article. We’ve fallen out a few times along the way, but we made it to the end, and now I have to let it go. It’s strange to realise that it feels the same as sending your children out into the world. It’s time to find out if it will be the most popular kid in the playground or the one scuffing their shoes all alone on the swing, not daring to raise their eyes.
My main character, Lily, is lonely. She’s had a family tragedy which has turned her classmates against her, and when we meet her, she’s sitting in a tube station where the mean text messages can’t reach her phone. But she decides to fight back when a strange girl explodes into her life and changes everything. I hope you’ll like her.